Printed Circuit Board (PCB) prototype is an important component and tool for any electronics engineer and in PCB assembly and manufacturing. The prototype is essential, starting from the designing procedure to the final stages. It permits testing for a particular design to see whether it will work or fail. In this way, you can rectify the error quickly and accordingly. Prototypes are also useful for mass production of PCBs. Without it, there is an increased risk for production of defective PCBs and related products.
There are 3 class standards in the PCB industry.
Most commonly used are classes 1 & 2. Each of our boards meets IPC-A-600 F (Class 2) standard, whether it’s prototype or actual board production. We at PCBnet.com always provide Class 2 with an assurance that our prototypes meet every client’s production requirements.
• Class 1 – used for testing and verifying designs and for General Electronic Products
• Class 2 – used for Dedicated Service Electronics that require extended life, high performance and uninterrupted service (hi-tech business machines and communication equipment)
• Class 3 – used in some types of military, aeronautic and medical applications wherein high reliability and uninterrupted service is required.
What is a PCB?
A PCB connects electronic components electrically. It consists of conducting layers of copper foil and its insulating layer is laminated with a prepeg (usually epoxy resin). A PCB can have one or more layers and can either be single-sided or double-sided. Double-sided PCBs are typically used to join components on both sides by means of thru-hole plating process. This is achieved by copper-plating the walls of the holes in order to connect the conducting layers of the board.
At PBCNet, we offer Multi-Layer, Flex and Rigid PCBs. You can also choose from our available exotic substrates such as Arlon, Nelco and Aluminum Core PCBs, among others. We aim to give our clients several options to ensure that we are capable of accommodating more diverse and challenging board requirements.
PCB Prototype and Layout Editor
When designing new circuits, it is recommended to draw using a schematic before making the prototype. A schematic helps in repairing and correcting the mistake committed during the creation process. If your board has simple circuitry, you can use proto-boards that are easy to use and understand. However, if your board has a more customized and complex circuitry, making an actual prototype board is necessary.
To make a PCB prototype, you will need a layout pattern, and you can use several layout editors for this purpose. A layout editor refers to software, which allows you to draw the layout of you board’s circuit with all the points and traces included. The points and traces are the locations where the components are to be soldered onto the PCB. The layout looks like a diagram and you can make edits on it until you achieve the desired PCB layout.
How to Make A PCB
PCBNet offers virtually all PCB services – from assembly, fabrication up to delivering the final products. In making PCBs, there are various complex processes to be followed, including:
In this process, chemical etching is combined with a photomask to remove unnecessary copper traces from the PCB substrate. The mask is made with a photo-plotter design with the aid of a CAD computer software. You can also use laser printers to create photomasks.
Multi-layer PCBs consist of multiple layers of thin etched circuit boards that are bound together by means of lamination.
• Solder Plating
Component lands and pads where soldering is required are plated to permit soldering of the electronic components. Some metal such as bare copper are not readily solderable. Hence, the surface must be plated with a solderable material that can facilitate easy soldering.
Every layer of the board needs to have the ability to connect to another layer. To achieve this, small holes are drilled with the use of an automated drilling machine.
• Board Testing
The circuit board needs to be tested prior to assembly. Testing methods include flying probe testers, nail testers or other computer-driven PCB testing machines.
PCB Services from PCBNet
If you already have all the components for your PCB project, simply submit your kit to us and we will get started immediately. If you want to get a quote, you can easily do so by going to our website. PCBNet uses a TurnKey quote system so expect your requested quote to arrive within 24 hours.